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UAlbany Contributes $1 Billion to Capital Region Economy

Study Finds Each Dollar Invested in University Yields $12 in Overall Impact

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 4, 2018) – The University at Albany has an annual economic impact on the Capital Region equal to $1 billion, according to a study by the Capital District Regional Planning Commission.

Relying on data from the University’s nine schools and colleges across its three campuses, the 2017 study analyzed the impact of long-term daily operations, short-term capital projects and student spending.

University President Havidán Rodríguez highlighted some of the study’s key findings at the President’s Breakfast on Nov. 28. Around 80 business leaders from the Capital Region convened at the Uptown Campus on Wednesday for the annual event, hosted by Fenimore Asset Management.

The biggest categories of economic impact by the University are:

  • Goods, services and employment, $760 million
  • Construction, $176 million
  • Student spending locally, $67 million
Event photo from the President's Breakfast showing 80 participants seated in the atrium of University Hall. President Havidán Rodríguez is speaking at podium.

Participants at the President's Breakfast on Nov. 28 heard from University President Havidán Rodríguez, as well as the event's keynote speaker, Robert Griffin, the founding dean of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. Photo by Patrick Dodson. 

The CDRPC found that the University has a total employment impact of 8,000 jobs. Additionally, the study concluded that every tax dollar invested in the University generates $12 in overall economic impact.

“As a major public research institution, and one of the Albany area’s largest employers, UAlbany has a powerful economic impact across the Capital Region,” said University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez. “In addition to the 10s of millions of dollars in employee salaries and student spending that UAlbany generates annually, our cutting-edge research is cementing the region’s ability to attract companies that will strengthen New York’s economy while developing innovative solutions to society’s greatest challenges."

Entrepreneurship and the Economy

Although it is difficult to quantify the impact of the area’s entrepreneurs who launch their startups at or through the University, these efforts drive the region’s economic development, said Matt Grattan, director of community and economic development at the University.

“As we continue to assess UAlbany’s economic impact on the region, we also are looking to identify key areas where the quantification of that impact is challenging, such as in the area of entrepreneurship and small business development,” he said. “We will soon be integrating an entrepreneurial metrics reporting tool, linked to our regional leadership role in Innovate 518 [the Capital Region’s Innovation Hot Spot], that will help showcase the significant impact that the innovation ecosystem has not only at UAlbany, but throughout the Capital Region.”

Student Spending

The $67 million in economic impact generated by the University’s 17,000 full-time students come from spending on school supplies and transportation, as well as basic living expenses such as groceries, utilities and rent.

Using data from the College Board for average student spending figures, the CDRPC found that the University’s student spending is responsible for justifying or otherwise warranting more than 380 jobs, accounting for $13 million in income for the regional workforce.

Estimates on student spending did not include the cost of tuition, or room and board.

The CDRPC is a regional planning and resource center serving the upstate New York counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady. The center provides “objective analysis of data, trends, opportunities and challenges relevant to the region’s economic development and planning communities,” according to its website.

The commission’s last analysis of the University’s economic footprint was in 2010.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.